Updated: Jul 6, 2021
As a creative writing teacher, one of the go-to tropes I revert back to time and time again, is "Stop telling and start showing". The same can apply to teaching your kids how to create clean and functional spaces. Sure, we can yell all day until we forget it is what we were yelling about and why. Who hasn't screamed "clean your room!" before dinner time, or after you ask your child for the hundredth time to pick up something you keep tripping on?
We need to show our kids how to clean up and organizing. After all, some of us adults still need some help in the cleaning and organizing department. And if we don't show them, we will continue to find stuffed animals in the fridge, dolls in the bathroom and if you're really lucky, a stash of inside out pants with the underwear still attached!
How did it come to this? Certainly, they aren't bringing the stuff into the house themselves. Unless they are like my 8-year-old who trades useless items from her room for even more useless items from kids on the bus and at school. Or from grandmas who can't say no, no matter how much we tell them our kids need nothing. We know what we are talking about. We have to live with the aftermath of those gifts.
If you look at her face, you can see the pure panic as I dumped a large bucket of crayons, markers and pens on her floor. This began because she told me she NEEDED new markers for school because she lost hers. She insisted we NEEDED to go to the store and get new ones. This momma is too smart for that old trick! We NEED to clean this mess!
Sometimes having too much is simply too much. Yes, too much of a good thing is bad. Refer back to the above photo if you don't understand this concept. Check out your own kid's room and see if you can evoke this same look from your child when you show them what they actually do have!
The good thing is, there is a way out of this mess. And even better, your kids can and should help. After all, it is theirs. It's good to teach ownership at a young age so that acquiring things does not get out of control. Above photo for reference if needed.
So the next time your child thinks they NEED to run out to the store to replace something that is lost, chewed up, stolen, in their left hand, try to show them what they already have. That initial shock may make them think twice before asking you (or grandma) for "one more thing pleeeease."
Show them, this is NOT the way.